I get worried that we are posting and writing so much about Paul and Paulpalooza that people are getting a little tired of it. Everyone loses someone that they love eventually, it doesn’t just happen to our family. Social media is a fairly new phenomenon, and hard for me to figure out sometimes. I don’t know if we post too much but I know we have a great marketing team. Besides all the great internet and newspaper press, I heard Mark Tauscher say Paul’s name on the radio. Wow, Paul lives on for us.
The reason I write and post, and Kathie too I think, is that it helps us. I am trying to keep Paul alive in the minds of the people that knew him, and introduce him to the people that didn’t get the chance. One time I complained to my dear Mother-in-law that she posted too much stuff, and she made a really good point: “What is stopping you from just scrolling on by?” So now sometimes I do. And I hope you do if you’ve had enough, too.
(I paraphrased this paragraph from Cold Mountain) You could grieve endlessly for the loss of time and the damage done. For the dead and for your own lost self. But we do not do well to grieve on and on. You can grieve your heart out and, in the end, you are still where you were. What you have lost will not be returned to you. It will always be lost. All your grief hasn’t changed a thing. You’re left with only your scars to mark the void. All you can do is choose to go on or not, knowing you carry the scars with you.
I shared a little about Paul’s scars shortly after he passed. I learned to love them for what they represented. Perseverance. Strength. Experience. Wisdom. Everyone that met Paul has a scar where Paul once was. I don’t want to grieve forever, but I can’t go back to not having a scar either. Paulpalooza to me is a chance to show each other our scars and celebrate the strength and wisdom we gained from the experience of knowing him. I want everyone to see my scar, and to show me theirs.
I am looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow at Paulpalooza. It feels like planning a wedding, only bigger. And to us, it is more important. The Paul’s Party Board and volunteers have put in countless hours to make every detail just right. We have already exceeded last year’s total in donations, and we have not even started the party yet. But mostly, it is important for me to have people remember my son, to hear his name and to hear the stories about how Paul affected people.
There are still times, and there will be Sunday, where I will not be able to speak. As of yet, I still get teary-eyed, my throat clamps shut and my vocal cords take a hike on me. So, if I am just looking at you and nodding Sunday, I want you to know that I really appreciate you being here to remember with me.
I feel like this is more than a memorial party, it is a reminder that we all share a common journey. I know that there are Democrats and Republicans that are going to be there. Bear fans, Viking fans and Packer fans will share music and a beer together. Brewer fans, Cub fans and even a stray Cardinal fan will all be celebrating together. We all have more in common than we have differences and it is important to spend a day appreciating that sometimes. That is what Paul did for me. He was our ultimate icebreaker and our door opener and everyone could get behind whatever it was he was doing or going through.
We (including our incredible Board members who have been giving so much to this event) designed the day to be fun, in a way that Paul would have had fun if he were here. We hope you discover a band that you like, drink a little too much, win a basket, laugh a lot and get you and your family home safely. I hope to get to the point where the the joy of having known Paul is worth the pain of losing him. Each day like tomorrow moves the needle a little bit and makes me appreciate a little more all the people that we have around us. Have fun!